By MIA FREEDMAN
I’m surrounded by people who are breaking up. They are sad and I am confused because their relationships aren’t bad.
I don’t even mean they’re kind of tolerable. Their relationships are actually great. They are deeply in love with their partners who are deeply in love with them.
No cheating. No abuse. No arguing – well, that’s a lie but it’s not a dominant feature in their day to day lives together. But for various reasons they are pragmatically deciding to end their relationships. And these emotional decisions are mostly being driven by women, all of whom are in their 20s. Let me give you some examples of three women I know.
BREAKUP #1: Her boyfriend of three years is about to go travelling for six months. She doesn’t feel like it’s realistic for them to stay together for such a long period of time when they’re still so young. She’s worried he might stray.
BREAKUP #2: She’s from Brisbane but currently living in Perth where they met 12 months ago. She loves her job there, has no plans to return home in the near future but can’t imagine staying in Perth to get married and have kids.
He has a child by a former partner in Perth and so he won’t move to Brisbane. They love each other madly and the relationship is the best she’s ever known but she’s torturing herself with the idea they should split now because neither of them will move in the future.
BREAKUP #3: She’s been with her partner for a couple of years. They live together and are extremely happy. But he’s not the type of guy she imagined having a family with. He lacks ambition and is content to just surf and do casual work to pay the bills.
Despite the fact she earns enough as a lawyer for them to live comfortably and has never felt so loved, she can’t help feeling that the father of her children should be with someone more her equal in earning capacity and (she’s scared to admit this even to herself) intellect.
None of these scenarios should surprise me really. I’ve always known women to like to plan ahead. We live in the hypothetical future A LOT – for better or worse. When we’re younger, this means reading about sex and relationships way before we actually have them (oh, the number of fathers I have had to calm down when they’ve freaked out about their daughters reading Dolly and did you know there was SEX in there???).
As we get older, it means thinking about how our weddings might look (you’re TERRIBLE, Muriel) and then when you find a partner, starting to get interested in reading about pregnancy etc etc.
But this idea of making big decisions about your life years before you actually have to? I have no idea what to think about this.